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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Punjabi pop star denies people smuggling
An Indian pop music star has denied police accusations that he was involved in an illegal immigration racket.

Daler Mehndi
Fans say Daler Mehndi's singing and dancing skill revived bhangra

Daler Mehndi, India's best-known bhangra artist, his brother and three others have been charged for their alleged role in the affair.

On Tuesday, the brother, Shamsher Singh, was detained by police after complaints that he had promised to smuggle migrants abroad by passing them off as members of Mr Mehndi's troupe.

Mr Mehndi rejects the charges against him and says his older brother misused his name.

At a press conference in Delhi on Monday, Mr Mehndi said he had long disowned his brother, and even accused Mr Singh of having impersonated him.

'Disguised as dancers'

Police told the BBC that the original charges were filed on the basis of a single complaint.

However, when local newspapers reported the story, as many as 16 more individuals came forward to complain.

The police accuse Mr Mehndi, Mr Singh and three others of defrauding hopeful migrants out of sums ranging from $25,000 to $30,000.

According to the charges, the would-be migrants were told they would be taken on tours to Western nations disguised as dancers in Mr Mehndi's bhangra troupe.

Mr Mehndi has denied all the charges.

Mr Singh has been placed in custody. He appeared in court in the northern town of Patiala on Tuesday where his remand was extended for the next five days.

Modern bhangra music combines folk beats and lyrics from the north Indian state of Punjab with Western dance influences.




SEE ALSO:
Britney goes bhangra for comeback
19 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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